Bobby Fischer vs Kasparov – 6. f4 (Sicilian Najdorf Defense, Amsterdam Variation) – Pt 4/5


The Amsterdam Variation with 6. f4 is an interesting option to the main lines of the Sicilian Najdorf, allowing white to deviate from the more thoroughly analyzed variations like 6. Bc4, 6. Bg5, and 6. Be2. The drawback for white is that black is able to easily equalize relatively early in the opening, allowing the Sicilian Najdorf player to first nullify white’s pressure in the center and further to establish concrete counterplay against white’s set-up. White’s main problem in the f4 line is that his primary attacking plan is simply not that dangerous. If black chooses to fianchetto his king-side bishop, normally white completes development and after black has castled kingside, white proceeds with Qe1, f5, Qh4, Bh6, and Ng5. However, this plan is very slow and black is able to stir up counterplay in the center with the thematic breaks of …b5 and …d5. Fischer’s strategy against most sidelines in the Najdorf involves a double-fianchetto formation, often beginning with the fianchetto of the queenside bishop after playing b5 to threaten complications with …b4 in the future. This double-fianchetto set-up allows black to pressure white’s center from both sides of the board, and it is very difficult for white to identify a concrete target to attack due to his inability to break the center open with his pawns. This double-fianchetto system is fundamentally different than other set-ups in the Sicilian Najdorf as black is able to generate counterplay and attack on the kingside as well as the center and queenside.

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